Archive for Stories

PseudoPod 632: The Harbour Master


The Harbour Master

by Robert W. Chambers


Because it all seems so improbable—so horribly impossible to me now, sitting here safe and sane in my own library—I hesitate to record an episode which already appears to me less horrible than grotesque. Yet, unless this story is written now, I know I shall never have the courage to tell the truth about the matter—not from fear of ridicule, but because I myself shall soon cease to credit what I now know to be true. Yet scarcely a month has elapsed since I heard the stealthy purring of what I believed to be the shoaling undertow—scarcely a month ago, with my own eyes, I saw that which, even now, I am beginning to believe never existed. As for the harbor-master—and the blow I am now striking at the old order of things—But of that I shall not speak now, or later; I shall try to tell the story simply and truthfully, and let my friends testify as to my probity and the publishers of this book corroborate them. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 631: The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)

Show Notes

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The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)

by A.C. Wise


  1. Sperm whale tooth, lampblack

The first scene depicted is the whaling ship Henry Charles Morgan, beset by a storm. The waves are stylized curls, the wind traced as spirals battering the masts and tearing the sails. A series of dots arranged diagonally across the image stand in for rain. The lampblack is worked most deeply into the ocean bearing the ship up and tossing it around. The ship itself is second in darkness, with the spirals of wind touched most lightly, giving them a ghostly feel. Spaces of blankness within the waves suggest the presence of hands, shapes of absence rather than definitively carved things. It is possible the artist meant to metaphorically represent the storm, the ocean as a malignant force actively trying to pull the whalers from the ship and cause them to drown. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 630: Steadfast

Show Notes

This short story has a special place in my heart because it was a challenge to write. I was invited by the anthology’s two editors, and as much as I adore fairy tales and study them for fun, I couldn’t think of one to adapt. Finally, Rona, three days before the deadline, messaged me, “Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘Steadfast Tin Soldier. Go!'” and I did it… It’s also the first short story where I had that writer’s moment of curling up in the coffee shop while working on a scene with tears pouring down my face saying, “I swear, it’s the scene! I’m fine–I promise!” Feel free to guess which scene that was.


Steadfast

by Trisha J. Wooldridge


Dear Suzanne,

I only got here and our camp’s on light discipline, which means that a shambler horde is close. Most of us can’t sleep and are up writing and sharing these tiny LED headlamps.

Dave’s company is at this camp, too. We saw each other at mess, and he looked like crap. Worse when he saw me. No one told him I’d been drafted. He never expected it with my bum leg. He said no one was talking about the front lines, but if they drafted someone like me, things must be really bad.

I told him I was here for more… political reasons. I don’t want him doing something stupid to your dad when we get back because he would. He didn’t think it was possible they could mess with medical records or pay off enough people to get me drafted, but here I am. Both of us are worried about Mom. You’re still checking in on her, right? Are you able to without causing any problems with your dad? I really hope so. Give her our love. She must be a wreck.

I know your performance is coming up, and I wish I were watching you dance rather than being here. But, I don’t regret our kiss. No matter what your dad thinks he can do, I’ll return to you for another. Thinking of that and thinking I am maybe keeping these horrors from getting to you, help me get through.

Love,

Peter (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 629: Slipping Petals from Their Skins

Show Notes

This story was inspired by my childhood obsession with Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies books and imagining that if I ate flowers, I could become one of those fairies.


Slipping Petals From Their Skins

By Kristi DeMeester


Carolina smells of viburnum when we bury her. My sister and I stand over the closed casket and pretend the fetid, cloying scent is the death lilies wreathed about the church, but of course we know better. Know if we opened up the box we’d put her in and pried open her mouth, those tiny white flowers would peek out from her throat like lace against her teeth. (Continue Reading…)